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Election rumours 'nonsense' says Napolitano

President speaks amid suggestion Renzi poised to push out Letta

12 February, 17:00
Election rumours 'nonsense' says Napolitano (See related) (ANSA) - Lisbon, February 12 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano dismissed election speculation Wednesday as "nonsense". There have been rumours that Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi may force a snap election if Premier Enrico Letta's proposed new coalition pact is not supported.

Napolitano told reporters "Let's not speak nonsense" when asked about the possibility while the president was on a trip to Portugal.

When asked about an apparent rivalry between Renzi and Letto, Napolitano was just as dismissive, saying he had been inside a conference and had not heard any fresh news.

Earlier in the day, Letta said that on Wednesday evening he would present his proposed coalition pact "Commitment Italy" for approval by political parties supporting his government.

However, speculation is rising that Letta might be replaced by Renzi, who has openly questioned whether it is worth continuing to support the weak government led by his PD colleague. Letta, whose ability to deliver results has been impaired by the fractious nature of his governing alliance, has said that he was confident his policy pact would be endorsed by all the parties supporting his executive, including his PD.

Renzi has called a PD meeting Thursday to decide the fate of the left-right coalition, with the Italian media forecasting three possible outcomes: him taking the helm from Letta; a reshuffle to bring in Renzi-ite ministers; or snap elections.

Pundits say an election is unlikely.

Renzi has been harrying the government to accelerate on much-needed institutional reforms and measures to boost the troubled Italian economy.